As season finales go, Fear the Walking Dead did a respectable job. But is that enough for a “companion” to the hit series, and uber-fan favorite, The Walking Dead? We’re still on the fence, but since Rick and company have had five seasons for us to know and love (or hate) them, is it fair to only […]
Episode 512 “Double Take”
Creep factor 10 this week, as we get into part two of what probably was supposed to be the season finale.
When last we visited Eureka, there was smart dust out of control, nuHolly is out of control, and Zane has been arrested for hacking into the DOD files and redacting evidence of Henry’s involvement in the consortium.
In the second half of the story, we get to see our favorite characters twisted around into goatee-wearing evil doppelgangers of themselves. And it amps up the heeby-jeeby-ness of Carter like we haven’t see before. Another chance for the cast – especially Colin Ferguson – to flex their muscles and get around characters that are not quite right in the head. Any of them.
Because it turns out, they’re the non-player characters from the matrix, following their programming with extreme prejudice. They were told to keep the Astraeus crew in the matrix. So they’re rounding up all the crew and replacing them one by one. With Exo III bodies. (Man, where is Ted Cassidy these days?…)
Now, we’ve seen Kavan Smith get all mind-bendingly evil as alternate universe Andy, and we know Ferguson has the range. But to see them together outside Cafe Diem just calm and collected like they don’t have a care in the world while Allison is slowly freaking out because something is not right in the town… it smacks of Stepford. This season’s been packed with thematic and visual cues that wink back at other stories, and this episode is no different – crossing the streams of body snatchers, conspiracies, evil twins, and zombies.
And it all works really well.
Admit it: we’re always curious to see what our favorite characters would be like if they were EEEEviilll. Right? Fortunately for us, the science fiction genre allows for so many ways you can have your cake and eat it, too – or in this case, get your regular favorite characters with a side dish of goatee.
For instance, when altHenry breaks Grace out of lockup, you have to react when he looks her right in the eye and says “You’re my wife. And I will never… let you go.” Because we get the double meaning there. And it just makes it that much better the way Joe Morton delivers that line.
And it gives time for hero status to Fargo and Allison, who have to rescue everyone because Parrish wanted to channel Han Solo and sneak past the lockdown at Global Dynamics. Figuring that everyone will figure him to be his doppelganger, he figures he can just walk Zane out the front door AA23 style. Only it doesn’t quite happen that way, and they get pinched. What makes it funny is that you know it’s going to go bad, and the writers know you know, so they just cut that part out and go from plan to prisoners in a smash cut. Classic setup-punchline. And it’s Parrish, which doubles the fun.
Plus, we get to see Allison in “action hero” mode, something we don’t get every day. And she does it without having to skim down to walking shorts and a tank top. Plus, she gets to flip a car and make a ‘splosion, and then run through the woods. All without losing one article of clothing. Several tropes right there, and still classy.
Everyone gets a little bit of shine this week, including Vincent and Larry (don’t tell me they weren’t named for the crash test dummies). It’s what you would expect if this was going to be the season finale – everyone gets a bit of meat. Chris Gauthier is especially wicked as he gets everyone to run and hide in the freezer, and when the NPCs come in and ask where everyone is, his body language completely flips as he says, “In the freezer.”
Fargo gets to be smart and action hero-y, too. Plenty of twists in this episode, leading you down one path, only to have it go sideways. When nuHolly reveals that she’s been under the control of the matrix NPCs, she’s so convincing as sweet loveable Holly, that we can buy the split personality and that the “real” Holly is trapped with the “evil” Holly. But it’s just an act. Getting Fargo to go with her to the woods. And Fargo goes along with her, and we ask “is he that lovesick?” But … it’s just an act, as Fargo turns the tables on nuHolly and zaps her.
Ah, young love.
Of course, the writers had to twist the knife in Fargo’s back just a little too much by wiping Holly’s memory all way back to when she first arrived in Eureka. Poof. So, Fargo gets a girlfriend, girlfriend dies, girlfriend gets resurrected as a hologram and then in a robot body, gets brainwashed and then zapped by Zanes zeta wave bomb, and gets her memory rebooted.
This episode had a lot packed into it. Especially fun was the “zombie” elements, as the town folk are chasing Allison and Carter through the woods to the cabin, and they run instead of shuffle, but the creep factor is there as they do what you would expect in those zombie scenes – stick their arms and legs through the doors and windows and reach to grab the heroes, and come in through the roof and any other opening they can find.
And then we get hero fighting evil twin as Carter fights altCarter in a decently executed split-screen/body double fight. And it’s Allison who gets to set off the bomb, and not Carter. Atypical for the climax of the episode, but here it works.
A lot works in this ep, except now that it’s the next to last episode, and the whole conspiracy plot that’s been going on all season long has sort of fallen away. Major Shaw – the only one without DNA in the computer – could be a potential ally, but he gets sidetracked by altJo, and we don’t see him again until the end of the episode when he announces the DOD has pulled the funding for Eureka – permanently.
Not quite “Best of Both Worlds”, but it would have been a good “to be continued” point. Except it’s not.
So the big elephant in the room: where was Shaw that he didn’t notice everyone in town acting strange and running around the town in a panic before they were running around town chasing Allison and Fargo?
Lines Worth Repeating:
Fargo – “My resurrected girlfriend’s the Manchurian Candidate.”
Parrish – “You disintegrated me.”
nuHolly – “You know what they say, Doug. Resistance is futile.”